As summer comes to a close, so does the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Ironically, the racial tensions flaring in Ferguson, Missouri prove that as far as we've come with race relations as a nation, we have farther to go still.
Never satisfied to let a crisis go to waste, Al Sharpton gave a speech in Ferguson on August 17 that was televised LIVE on MSNBC in which he notified the community that "booths" were being set up around protest sites to register voters. While encouraging participation in our system is admirable, Sharpton has made no secret of his dislike for the Republican Party; therefore, one can presume that Sharpton's invitation was a battle cry to join the Democrat Party.
The Rev. Al Sharpton speaks during the funeral of Michael Brown inside Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church on August 25, 2014 in St. Louis Missouri. Credit Pool/Getty Images
Before registering to vote, followers might want to check Sharpton's Democrat Party regarding their record on civil rights. It is uglier than those first few tense nights in Ferguson.
The fact is that Sharpton's beloved party actually stood in the way of civil rights for more than 100 years.
According to publicly-available voting records dating back to the mid-1800s, it turns out it was overwhelmingly Republicans -- not Democrats -- who cast the votes to pass civil rights.
[sharequote align="center"]The fact is that Sharpton's party actually stood in the way of civil rights for more than 100 years.[/sharequote]
In fact, the Democrat Party was responsible for passing Jim Crow laws as well as so-called Black Civil Codes that forced Americans to utilize separate drinking fountains, swimming pools and other facilities. According to the Public Broadcasting Service, during that time "the Democratic Party identified itself as the 'white man's party' and demonized the Republican Party as being "Negro dominated.'"
Democratic icons such as John F. Kennedy actually voted against the 1957 Civil Rights Act while serving in the U.S. Senate.
Then-Sen. Al Gore, Sr. (D-Tenn.) also opposed it.
Civil Rights March in Washington, D.C. in 1963. Photo Credit: Library of Congress.
Sure, Democrat President Lyndon B. Johnson was instrumental in the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act in the wake of the assassination of President Kennedy, the truth is that Democrats have historically been the largest single blockade to the passage of civil rights in America.
You don't hear Reverend Al talking about that.
In fact, if you check the voting record even further back -- more than 150 years -- you'll find an impressive record of Republican support for civil rights.
The Republican Party itself was founded as the "anti-slavery party" in 1854 and subsequently gave us President Abraham Lincoln and ultimately, the Emancipation Proclamation which liberated slaves. Democrats at the time fought to keep African Americans in slavery.
Democrats voted against every single piece of civil rights legislation dating back to 1866 - a dismal record for today's Democrats who would like you to believe that history has been on their side on the issue. That could not be further from the truth.
President Abraham Lincoln, leader of the Union during the Civil War. The monument reads, "From these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion." Approximately 600,000 U.S. citizens lost their lives, including Lincoln himself in the fight for a united nation where all men and women were treated equal.
Photo courtesy of Dyanna Hyde
It was Republicans who passed the 13th Amendment, which officially freed the slaves after the Emancipation Proclamation. In fact, only four Democrats voted for it.
It was also Republicans who passed the 14th Amendment which granted slaves U.S. citizenship and the 15th Amendment which gave them the right to vote. Not a single one of the 56 Democrats in Congress voted for the 15th Amendment.
In fact, Republicans passed all of the Civil Rights laws of the 1860s -- including the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Reconstruction Act of 1867 following the Civil War.
But wait there's more.
Photo Credit: Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower - a Republican - appointed Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren who penned the Brown vs. Board of Education decision that brought about an to end school segregation.
Republican U.S. Sen. Everett Dirksen from Illinois (the “Land of Lincoln”) wrote numerous pieces of similar legislation including the Civil Rights Act of 1968 which banned discrimination in housing.
It was Republican President Richard M. Nixon who introduced “the Philadelphia Plan" which became the blueprint for what is known as Affirmative Action today.
It was President Ronald Reagan, a Republican icon, who in 1984 signed into law the holiday now known as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
That's right, these were Republicans -- not Democrats.
Surely, Al Sharpton informed his soon-to-be-registered voters about the shameful track record of the Democrat Party; after all, no dialogue in the aftermath of Ferguson, no fiery speech, no appearance on MSNBC, no pitch for voter registration would be complete without this context of American history.
Jennifer Kerns is a branded contributor to TheBlaze and other publications where she writes about 2014 midterms, the future of the GOP, limited government, religious liberty and other political hot topics. On Twitter @JenniferKernsDC
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